Archive for June, 2007

Weekend Sewing

My daughter is an avid quilter. She just graduated with a Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering, and is home for two months until she starts her new job. In that time, she has sewn several tank tops for herself and pieced two quilt tops. Here are some of her completed quilts that she has made over the last few years.


This quilt is made from the scraps from the Indiana Puzzle quilt shown on the bed below.  She makes a lot of small quilts and donates them to the Linus Project.  That rocker was bought at the All-West Crafts Fair in Harpers Ferry West Virginia many years ago when we were living in Virginia.


I love this ‘bookcase’ quilt.  She made this one summer when she was home from college.  I like the bright colors.  She might hang it on the wall in her new apartment.


This quilt was a wedding present for college friends.  Because the husband is now an aerospace engineer, there are all kinds of rocket ships quilted into the border.  The top hasn’t been quilted yet in the picture above.


Here’s the older daughter in the green shirt, finally finished. 


Here is part of the results of our efforts this past week.  I still have two huge bags full of plums, but the spouse is going to take them to the office and try to give them away.  That usually works.

So far this weekend I have cut out two aprons in a zippy orange print, and a summer top for the oldest daughter.  In addition, I spent this morning sewing a knitting caddy for the bed to hold my project bags and keep them from falling all over the bed when I am knitting and watching TV in there. 

I see that it is past three o’clock, so I better go load up the breadmaker for the pizza dough.  We are going to have pesto pizzas for Sunday dinner.

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Home Stretch

It cooled off yesterday enough to do some sewing on the green shirt. I have finished everything but the buttons. It was impossible to find buttons in the proper green color, so I am just going with some old white buttons I had in the stash.

We used to have a lot of fun with buttons.  There was a company in Pennsylvania that I used often, Home-Sew Inc., (http://www.homesew.com/index.html) that sold notions, and at one time they offered a pound of buttons for only about $2.  I used to get a pound now and then when I placed a mailorder.  Not only did this result in a huge button stash, but was also useful for amusing the kids.  I would bring out the colored buttons and dump them out onto a cookie sheet or 9×13 pan, and provide them with several muffin tins.  The kids spent hours sorting the buttons by color and looking for their favorites.  They also used them for Barbie dishes. 


I finished the laundry bag I started yesterday so can use today to get the buttonholes in the shirt.  I also have a few collars to turn on my husband’s shirts, which seems like a fussy thing to do, but adds years to the life of a shirt that is otherwise ruined.

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Useful Items

First, a sad tale of bees, panic, and pain.  Some months ago, I disturbed a nest of ground bees in the backyard, and we won’t dwell too much on the stupidity that caused this (mine) but only on the aftermath.  A bee stung me on the thumb, and in my panic to escape, I tripped and fell, injuring the same hand that had the sting.  Fast forward a few months, and the docs finally decided to X-ray the hand and do other medical things to it (I will spare you the details), but here I am with orders to rest the hand for awhile and wear this brace.  All well and good, but the darned thing is hot and sweaty to wear.  I needed some kind of brace undergarment.

At the same time, I have been reading about people who are knitting covers for their Brand Name Floor Dusters.  I can’t see myself spending the time to knit something to pick up dirt and dust, but the idea for a washable, reusable Duster Cover is a very good one.  I decided to sew some covers using Walmart socks.  You can buy 6 pairs of socks at Walmart for under $4, which would make 12 reusable covers. 

To begin, I cut off the ribbing and made this part of the sock into the brace undergarment.  I hemmed the cut edge with a zigzag stitch, then cut a slit in the side and stitched around that.  If the opening comes out too long, you can just sew it up a little with the zigzag stitch.

img_0818.jpg  img_0820.jpg

These are very comfortable.

Next, using the rest of the sock, I folded it with the heel on the bottom, and sewed the cut end closed so that the loopy side would be the right side  (picks up more dust).  I cut a slit in the top, zigzagged around it, and presto, a duster cover. img_0817.jpg


The picture above shows one of the covers on my old sponge mop, which works well too.  From one pair of socks at a cost of less than 35 cents per item, I got two hand socks for under the brace, and two duster covers.  The covers work great, by the way, and can go into the wash with bleach, another plus, unlike yarn.

Now I am off to mop the bathroom floors.

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Pattern Fun

I admit that I am addicted to buying patterns.  I wait until they are on sale, then I usually take the girls with me so that they can pick out patterns they like.  Yesterday was the Butterick sale at JoAnns, so we all were there adding to my stash.  A is also an avid quilter, so she was busy buying backing, batting, and quilting notions.  Here is my new stack of patterns:img_0810.jpg

If I ever finish that green shirt, I am next going to make myself a new apron.  I always use the same pattern, and I use decorator fabric because it is sturdy, washes well, retains its color, and resists stains.  I use a tabard style, but I do away with the side ties, and instead use a band attached at both sides.  I just pull the apron over my head.



Here’s a view of the side band.

I have never gotten the knack for applying bias tape.  My MIL can stitch it on beautifully, always catching the tape on the underside in the stitching with a professional result, but I somehow can’t manage it.  I think I am going to practice it because there must be some trick to it that I am missing.  To compensate for my lack of talent in this area, I just use a mending stitch, a four-stitch-up, four-stitch-down wide zig zag.

It is going to be hot again today, but not as bad as last week.  I have managed to get the cuffs on the 3/4 sleeves of the green shirt, but they need a press and top stitching.  After that, the hem and buttons.


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Sewing Guilt

When I was in high school, my mother had some function or other coming up that she had to attend and needed help to finish her outfit in time.  I was supposed to sew the blouse, a purple satin thing with cuffs (it was the sixties).  I was a terrible procrastinator at the time (and for years afterward) (and maybe still) so I kept putting off sewing on it until it was the actual day of the party.  In a rush at the last minute, I simply sewed her into it by sewing the buttons on the cuffs while she was wearing the garment to hold the cuffs closed.  I was supposed to finish up the blouse for her later, but life kept getting in the way.  That blouse went with me from high school to college to marriage, from apartment to apartment to house, from state to state, its message of guilt ever present.   I was probably the only one who remembered it and my failure to finish it.

Then one day, I decided to free myself from the guilt, took the blouse and just threw it away.  It was very liberating and of course, my mom never minded because she only needed it for that one night, and even though it really wasn’t finished, it looked like it was and that was all that mattered.

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Slow Shirt

Here is A wearing the latest edition of Simplicity 3759.  It really fits her nicely, and she has requested more of them.  I don’t really have much plain, unpatterned knit fabric, so I will have to look around.  I have lots of the white knit, though, and can make another one.  My favorite knit fabric is the textured knit that is used for polo shirts, except that I use the wrong, untextured side for the right side.  It is a nice firm, easy-to-sew fabric.


 I have made a lot of shirts from Simplicity 9210.  I have adapted the pattern so much that it now resembles a completely different blouse.  The current version has 3/4 length sleeves. 


Here is the same green shirt I have been ‘working’ on for a few months now.  I was interrupted by vacation and knitting, but I have finally picked it up again.  I just need to do the side seams, hems, and buttons.


This short sleeved blouse is also 9210 made in a batik.  I found the perfect buttons for this fabric.



The moss green version is made of polyester crepe and has matching pants and vest.


The weather here in Northern California has turned hot.  It is 103 degrees out there today, so I am keeping cool by sewing in the back room with the fan pointed toward me.

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Dad To The Rescue

Sewing involves the use of sharp pointy objects and is often done in the presence of distractions, such as curious children, so it is inevitable that accidents will happen.  My daughters were reminding me yesterday at Sunday dinner about one memorable day when I actually sewed myself.  I can’t remember what I was making, but my little girl came up to my right hand side and said something, and I stupidly looked at her and sewed right through my finger.  I jerked my hand away reflexively, breaking the needle off from the machine but leaving it in my finger.  Knowing that the serious pain would start pretty soon, I started hopping up and down to distract my brain (amusing my daughter very much) and hopped to the phone.  I stood there hopping frantically while I called my Dad and explained the situation.  He rushed to his car, drove across town with a pair of pliers, and after I hopped to the front door and let him in, he pulled the needle out of my finger.  My hero!

 My finger healed remarkably quickly with no scar except on my daughter’s psyche.  She still laughs when she remembers it.

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